Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce his nomination of Alex Azar for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Azar is the former president of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. According to a story in the New York Times, Eli Lilly was named in a lawsuit with two other pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, which accused them of conspiring to raise prices on lifesaving drugs. Azar left Eli Lilly earlier this year.
Due to Azar's obvious connection to the pharmaceutical industry, many are questioning Trump's decision. For a man who ran his campaign with the motto, "Drain the swamp," Trump seems to be doing exactly the opposite by filling his administration with business insiders and lobbyists.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is speaking out, saying in a press release:
At a time when the United States pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the last thing we need is to put a pharmaceutical executive in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services. The nomination of Alex Azar, the former head of Eli Lilly’s U.S. operations, shows that Trump was never serious about his promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from ‘getting away with murder.’
During Mr. Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, this multi-billion-dollar corporation dodged taxes while charging Americans outrageously high prices for life-saving prescription drugs. We need an HHS secretary who is willing to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices, not one who has financially benefited from this greed. I will vigorously oppose this nomination.
Sanders isn't the only one concerned about the choice. Twitter users voiced their disapproval:
Surgeon, scientist, and activist Eugene Gu posted a series of tweets blasting Trump's nomination:
Unfortunately, Trump will never see Dr. Gu's tweets. He's blocked him on Twitter.
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